With both sides rested and relatively healthy, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins seek an early advantage as they enter Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
Boston ended the New York Rangers season a week ago, and the day before the Penguins sent the Ottawa Senators packing for their first trip to the conference finals since 2009.
Both needed five games to defeat their opponents, and Pittsburgh is first in the playoffs with 4.27 goals a game with Boston just behind in second with 3.17.
After a 2-1 overtime letdown in Game 3, the Penguins stormed back by outscoring Ottawa 13-5 in the final two games of the series.
Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis lead the club with seven goals apiece this postseason, and Evgeni Malking and Kris Letang each have 16 points. Overall, Pittsburgh has six players with 10 points or more, compared to four for the Bruins.
Boston center David Krejci is tied with right wing Nathan Horton with five goals, but the Czech has also controlled the point with 12 assists.
Goaltender Tomas Vokoun makes up what the Bruins lack in firepower. The 14-year veteran is 6-1 with a .941 save percentage.
Pittsburgh counters with keeper Tuukka Rask, who has had a few minor lapses during these playoffs, but has still posted a solid 8-4 record and .928 save percentage. The Fin has proven he can take on a high volume of shots, with 23 or more saves in 11 of his games, including two straight games with 45 saves against Toronto in the first round.
The game starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by NBC, or watch their live online stream at NBC Live Extra here.
Betting Odds: Pittsburgh is favored by 1.5 goals
Over/Under: 5.5 goals
Prediction: Pittsburgh 3-1
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